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Ad Lib blog

Creative critiques of pharma and healthcare ads and campaigns

A will of iron

In Brett O’Connor and Matthew Macland’s view, campaigns are all too often about a gentle putt. Find out why they believe two campaigns fell short

As we write this, we've both been watching the golf US Open. Brett quite a bit, as he's a fan, and me just a little. It's a sport that, like Thatcher (and some say Marmite), people tend to love or hate.

However, one thing about golf that we do agree on is that, superficially at least, it's so terribly gentlemanly and civilised (Tiger only momentarily shattered that illusion). Compared with other sports we watch, it's very un-confrontational. Sometimes, you can almost forget it's a competition. 

We spend a lot of time here judging creative work and one thing we always look for in an idea is competitiveness. People choose a brand because they believe, right or wrong that it is the best in some way. If your brand doesn't possess a genuine competitive angle, you can always create one that hasn't already been taken, and if that's really not possible, the least you can do is be the very best at saying something uncompetitive. Ideas exist in an arena and this is healthcare, so let's get a bit more bloody.

Our scoring system is ruthless. They either do the job well, or they don't. Hole in one, or below par.

Cymbalta – Eli Lilly

Author

Below par

Public

Cymbalta – Eli Lilly

Agency: Ward 6

It’s nicely shot, simple, attention grabbing and we get it in an instant. It’s got a lot going for it. And you can just imagine how painful that would be. Much, much worse than an upturned plug (moderate) or a piece of Lego (mild). It will help doctors to appreciate just how bad diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain is (unless another brand has already done similar market shaping), and next time a patient comes in, we feel sure they’ll more seriously consider their options. But is Cymbalta the best option?  Is there some reason to prefer it to its competitors? Maybe, but unfortunately, based on this ad, we have no idea what that reason is.

OxyContin – Purdue Pharma

Author

Below par

Public

OxyContin – Purdue Pharma

Agency: woolley pau gyro

He looks like a cheeky, loveable rogue. He’s old, but he’s got genuine personality; he’s still worth fighting for. It’s a warm ad with simple charm. We quite like it, so far. With effective pain relief, he can carry on being himself. So we think this treatment is effective. It might even be the most effective treatment out there, or it might be the most something else – like reliable, or patient-friendly or something.  But we just don’t know. So we quite like this brand, but we’ve got no idea why we would prescribe it instead of something else. 

Sativex – Bayer Schering Pharma

Author

Hole-in-one

Public

Sativex – Bayer Schering Pharma

Therapy area: MS spacity
Agency:  Langland

Oh we like this. And we’re not alone. For a moment the image looks so ordinary, and yet in that same moment you know something’s wrong. How does that happen? It’s just the right balance of subtle but clear. And it’s just so simple. We know that this poor person is depending upon others to do the most basic things. And that is the real cost of them not receiving treatment. And we think this is the only treatment for MS spasticity – so it’s ‘competition’ is no treatment and it’s got a very clear advantage over that. Next time I’m confronted with this condition, I know exactly why I should choose Sativex.

Article by
Brett O’Connor and Matthew Macland

creative directors, VCCP Health

2nd May 2013

From: Marketing

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